What Happens To Your Body The Morning After Smoking Weed
Why you feel blah after eating that brownie.
If you’ve ever been hungover from drinking, then you already know how one night of boozy indulgence can really mess with your mood, well-being, and productivity the next day. And you might have found yourself in a similar sitch the day after eating both halves of a pot brownie. But are weed hangovers real? Some cannabis consumers swear they’ve endured weed-related hangover symptoms, but the experience is far from universal.
If you’ve experienced weird symptoms after staying away from weed for a while, it’s possible that your body has become used to a certain amount of cannabis regularly, and is having difficulty adjusting. “Marijuana withdrawal would be a more appropriate name for [a weeed hangover]” Dr. Scott Braunstein M.D., medical director of healthcare organization Sollis Health, tells Bustle. But a lot of the research on cannabis hangovers is based on people who use it heavily, seven times or more per month, and there’s not a lot of studies about occasional users and how they feel the morning after a big night.
With all of that in mind, here are four commonly reported symptoms of a weed hangover, why they happen, and what you can do to make yourself feel better if you ever experience one.
Dr. Jordan Tishler M.D., an emergency medicine physician and cannabis specialist, tells Bustle that headaches are more likely to happen while you’re still intoxicated. If your head aches the morning after, you might just be dehydrated. A review of cannabis withdrawal symptoms after heavy use published in Current Addiction Reports in 2018 found that headache was a common symptom, along with chills and shakiness. It’s not really clear why this happens, but it’s possible that it’s to do with brain activity.
“Cannabis binds to neuron receptors, and has a complicated effect on neurotransmitters in the brain,” Dr. Braunstein says. “In chronic users, the brain becomes accustomed to a high level of dopamine.” Dopamine is is a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in sensations of pleasure and reward. Without cannabis, dopamine levels can crash possibly leading to migraine, as one 2017 study published in Neurology found. But it’s not clear if all these puzzle pieces fit together for weed smokers.
The next time you spend your Saturday night getting baked with friends, just be sure you’re drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your cannabis adventures.
2. Brain Fog
Of all the reported symptoms of a “weed hangover,” Dr. Tishler says brain fog and fatigue are the ones he anticipates. “The mechanism is unknown, but I suspect largely related [to] over-stimulation of the CB1 receptors.” These are the main receptors in the brain where cannabis ‘docks’, giving you all its positive effects.
If you smoke regularly and then stop, it could mess with your cognitive abilities. “If marijuana use is discontinued, dopamine levels drop and within about one week, the person can feel a state of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and even depression,” Dr. Braunstein says. This is why cannabis is seen as psychologically addictive, he says; it gives you a hard emotional time if you go through withdrawal. An overview of cannabis withdrawal in 2017 in Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation found that irritability, restlessness, disturbed mood, depression, and anger could all appear as symptoms.
Other than coffee, good food, and lots of sleep, one way to deal with brain fog is to get out and exercise. Try going for a long walk or run, then cool down with some yoga, and take a hot (or cold) shower afterwards. It may not make your mental fogginess go away completely, but you’ll definitely feel sharper and more alert.
3. Feeling Dehydrated
While studies show that THC can bind itself to the CB1 receptors on our salivary glands, causing them to dry up вЂ” aka, dry mouth вЂ” Dr. Tishler tells Bustle that dehydration isn’t directly caused by weed. “Dehydration and dry eyes are really not related to cannabis,” he says. If you’re feeling dried out the day after consuming cannabis, it’s probably because you were already dehydrated when you started smoking; or it might be because you didn’t remember to hydrate while you were getting lifted.
Dehydration is pretty easy to avoid. To rehydrate and recover after waking up dehydrated, drink lots of water, and chow down on water-rich fruits and veggies throughout your day.
For the most part, weed can actually help some people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. But if you smoke weed before bed, it’s possible that your high could be messing with the quality of your sleep, ultimately making you feel fatigued the day after you smoke. A study published in 2017 in Psychopharmacology also found that withdrawal from cannabis meant a rise in poor sleep quality, so if you’re a heavy user going without for a while, you might feel a bit more tired.
Naturally, the best way to remedy this hangover symptom is by getting lots of sleep вЂ” but if that’s not an option for you due to work or social obligations, then all you can really do is try to treat your body well throughout the day. Drink coffee and water, eat healthy meals, go for a long walk, and consider taking the day off from weed.
The Bottom Line
Dr. Tishler says time is really all any cannabis consumer should need to get back to “normal,” and he advises practicing moderation in all things. “If youвЂ™re experiencing weed hangover, likely youвЂ™re using too much,” Tishler says.
Also worth remembering? Any product that claims to relieve a pot hangover is likely too good to be true. “There are many products claiming to address this problem, or over-intoxication in general, and IвЂ™d advise staying away from them,” Dr. Tishler says. “There is no science yet to suggest that these products are effective, and since they are not regulated at all, thereвЂ™s no reason to expect that they are safe to use.”
Readers should note that laws governing cannabis, hemp and CBD are evolving, as is information about the efficacy and safety of those substances. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as legal or medical advice. Always consult your physician prior to trying any substance or supplement.
Dr. Scott Braunstein M.D.
Dr. Jordan Tishler M.D.
Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018). Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s10194-018-0862-2
Bonnet, U., & Preuss, U. W. (2017). The cannabis withdrawal syndrome: current insights. Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 8, 9вЂ“37. https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S109576
DaSilva, A. F., Nascimento, T. D., Jassar, H., Heffernan, J., Toback, R. L., Lucas, S., DosSantos, M. F., Bellile, E. L., Boonstra, P. S., Taylor, J., Casey, K. L., Koeppe, R. A., Smith, Y. R., & Zubieta, J. K. (2017). Dopamine D2/D3 imbalance during migraine attack and allodynia in vivo. Neurology, 88(17), 1634вЂ“1641. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000003861
Jacobus, J., Squeglia, L.M., Escobar, S. et al. Changes in marijuana use symptoms and emotional functioning over 28-days of monitored abstinence in adolescent marijuana users. Psychopharmacology234, 3431вЂ“3442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4725-3
Mathew, R. J., Wilson, W. H., Turkington, T. G., & Coleman, R. E. (1998). Cerebellar activity and disturbed time sense after THC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9666122
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This article was originally published on Oct. 14, 2015
Cannabis withdrawal can feel like many different things, but people commonly report these four symptoms of a weed hangover.
Does Marijuana Help You Sleep?
A recent study concludes that marijuana use might actually disrupt your sleep. However, experts point out there may be other factors involved.
Marijuana may make you sleepy, but does it really help you sleep?
With the increasing frequency of marijuana legalization and its medical use throughout the United States, many are turning to the drug to treat insomnia and sleep disorders.
However, a study from the University of Michigan concluded that depending on how frequently an individual uses marijuana, it may not help them sleep at all.
It may actually worsen their sleep quality.
The study recruited 98 subjects who were divided into three groups: daily marijuana users, non-daily marijuana users, and a non-user control group.
Individuals were disqualified from the study for a variety of reasons that could affect sleep.
Illicit drug users and binge drinkers couldn’t participate, nor could individuals working night shift jobs, or those using sleeping medications.
Researchers found that that the daily-use group had higher levels of insomnia (almost 40 percent) compared to non-daily users (10 percent) and the control group (20 percent).
“These results are consistent with previous studies showing an association between sleep disturbance and heavy marijuana use in adults,” the researchers wrote.
The significance of their report is that it suggests that while marijuana may help some individuals in the short term or through intermittent use, continual use makes insomnia worse.
“The effects of marijuana on sleep in intermittent users may be similar, in part, to those of alcohol where improvements in sleep… have been reported with intermittent use, whereas daily use results in the worsening of sleep,” they wrote.
Another facet that Deirdre Conroy, PhD, a clinical associate professor in the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry and lead author on the study, touches on in a separate publication is what happens when daily users stop using marijuana.
Their sleep worsens during a withdrawal period if they attempt to quit using the drug or use it less frequently.
The study was limited in that quantity of use wasn’t measured.
All daily users were considered to be “heavy” marijuana users, but researchers admit they were, “unable to know if the sleep reports of daily users were a result of frequency of use or quantity of use.”
They say that future studies should recruit individuals who only smoke minimally to observe how quantity could potentially affect sleep quality.
Medical marijuana is also used to treat a variety of ailments from anxiety to PTSD.
Those ailments almost certainly play a role in sleep disorders.
Researchers discovered that when they controlled the study for anxiety and depression, the difference in reported insomnia levels disappeared.
“This raises questions about how marijuana is affecting people with and without anxiety and depression,” Conroy, who is board certified in sleep disorder medicine, told Healthline.
“We don’t know if our participants started using [marijuana] to treat anxiety and developed insomnia or if they used [marijuana] to treat insomnia and developed anxiety,” she explained. “Additional studies looking more specifically at these relationships will help us better understand this relationship.”
The study further complicates the medical literature on the relationship between marijuana and sleep — which is already inconsistent.
“To date, controlled clinical data with regard to the impact of cannabinoids on sleep is limited and somewhat mixed,” Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told Healthline.
He points out a 2017 review on the subject matter as evidence of that.
“Cannabis is frequently used by patients as a sleep aid and they typically report subjective benefits from cannabis with regard to getting to sleep and staying asleep,” Armentano said.
One of the problems in making a conclusive assessment is that marijuana contains numerous different chemicals that affect the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The two most prominent, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), both exist in varying amounts, depending on the strain of marijuana.
Therefore, there’s the potential for different strains to affect sleep differently.
The review that Armentano brought up suggests that CBD may be helpful for insomnia, but THC may impair sleep quality in the long run.
Marijuana is also known to decrease REM sleep — the stage closely related with dreaming.
A separate study concluded that the “sleepy” effects of THC seem to lessen as a user’s tolerance grows.
Another study, a newer one from 2017 , found that marijuana users who decreased usage over time had improvements in anxiety, depression, and sleep quality.
In short, considering the many variables involved — including mental health issues, marijuana strain and potency, and quantity of use — a definitive answer on the relationship between marijuana and sleep remains somewhat elusive.
However, Conroy’s research may be helpful in sorting out some of the details of who are better candidates for using medical marijuana for sleep disorders.
“If you have depression, cannabis may help you sleep. But if you don’t, cannabis may hurt,” she writes.
The research also points to future work investigating a potential optimal dosing strategy.
That is, if smoking heavily every day is too much, how would less frequent, smaller doses affect sleep quality?
A recent study concludes that marijuana use might actually disrupt your sleep. However, experts point out there may be other factors involved.